Expectations in Motherhood: Day Four

“Expectation - I Would Instinctively Know Each of My Children”

By Nicole Lawrence

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READ: Psalm 139:13-18, Romans 12:4-8

My oldest was afraid of slides for the longest time. Every time we went to the park I would push her to try again, to be courageous and slide. The more I pushed, the more she retreated. My youngest would walk blindly down the tallest slide if I let her. When Aria is sick she wants extra cuddles, when Hadley is sick she wants her space, don’t even try to touch her  unless you enjoy getting hit! My expectation that I could parent each of my children the same not only leads to more frustration but keeps me from embracing who God has designed them to be.

I assumed that because I am their mother, I would know them so deeply that I could anticipate each tantrum, approach each cry with the perfect attention, love them through each difficulty exactly as it fits them. But that was a lie. For each right thing I do with them, there are 10 wrong things I’ve tried. Motherhood is full of trial and error. I have to remind myself that as long as I am a mother and they are my children we will always be learning together. Each moment an opportunity to know them more. 

As much as I love and know them, their Heavenly Father knows them in a way that is so intimate and special. Just as Psalm 139 teaches us, it is God who sees their thoughts and transforms their hearts. He loves them with a passion deeper than I could ever imagine. So in my moments of discouragement over not understanding them, I can cry out to God who deeply knows them. When they have sinned and I don't know how to help them out of it, God knows. When they are heartbroken and I can’t fix it, God can. When they are facing a difficult situation and I don’t know what wisdom to give them, God does. 

My oldest daughter and I had a rocky relationship when she was 2. No matter how much I tried to connect with her, she pushed back. My expectation was because she's a piece of me, she would learn like I learn, love as I love, enjoy the things I enjoy, but that could be further from the truth. God has taught me that it is her uniqueness that makes her perfectly designed for Him and His purpose for her. Just as all parts of our body have a purpose, even at the youngest ages our children are growing into their purpose in His kingdom. Their hearts being molded by the maker of the universe. It is our job to partner with God to help them use their uniqueness to become all they are designed, called and gifted to be. These sweet children are a wonderful gift that we get the privilege to open over and over and over again. 


MEDITATE: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the father of lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17

REFLECT:

  1. What unique difficulties do each of your children present for you? 

  2. What special qualities do they possess? How can you encourage these gifts?

  3. Write out a prayer for each of your children thanking God for their uniqueness .

PRAY: God, thank you for the most precious gifts, the gifts of each of my children. I recognize the struggle of understanding them on a unique, individual level, but I know that You intimately know them. Help me to love them and disciple them in the special way they need. Our perfect Creator, my desire is to show my children You and Your design for their lives, lead me in the Spirit as I do that every day. In Your name, Amen.


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Expectations in Motherhood: Day Three

“Expectation - I Could Go Back to My Old Normal”

By Nicole Lawrence

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READ: 1 Peter 1:14-16, Isaiah 43:18-19


I remember the first time my husband and I tried to take a date night. Our sweet baby girl was 2 months old and it was our anniversary, so we decided to go for a quick meal at our favorite Italian restaurant. We snapped a picture before we left and it is still one of my favorites today. My husband looks terrified, I am laughing or else she might match our daughter’s big tears coming down her precious tiny screaming face.

Date nights are just one of the things that get sacrificed in the role of motherhood. Life seemed so easy in my prior life. I could shower every day, hop in the car and get to work on time, come home for a spontaneous date night sans mac and cheese, binge-watch Netflix, then go sleep in a bed reserved for two only. When I let my mind wander to pre-kid life, I get caught in the trap of resentment. I stare too long in the mirror letting myself feel disgusted over my flabby stretch marks left as reminders that I’ll never go back to my old self again. I linger on how much more difficult the small tasks of my day are with tiny needs that multiply each minute or how my dreams have faded into view. I lose my view of holiness. 

Motherhood is sacrificial love, something Jesus knew about. He gave up the best comforts of heaven to be uncomfortable for a bigger purpose. He came to give us some of the greatest gifts, a perfect example of sacrificial love through His life and His death. Sometimes that work pushes me beyond the complacency of my old life. God uses motherhood to point out how much I relied on my old comforts to push me towards a holy uncomfortableness.

When I am exhausted from sleepless nights, I can welcome spiritual rest in Him. Giving up my personal space allows me to see their nearness as a sign of God’s nearness to us. Looking at the way my body is forever changed from children reminds me that my body is a temple for the Lord.

Motherhood is an endless cycle of being broken and remade into something even more beautiful. We are being re-made into His likeness. Let God show you the wonders of a new woman who is miraculously being made into a mother, moment by moment. 


MEDITATE:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

REFLECT:

  1. What comforts of life before children do you long for the most? Does it feel like a worthy sacrifice or a useless sacrifice to give those things up?

  2. How would you define sacrificial love? Read Matthew 16:25, Jesus tells us to lose our lives for Him is to find it. How is losing actually gaining?

  3. God calls us to be holy because He is holy. What ways can you display His holiness today as a mom?

PRAY: God, forgive me for the ways I crave my old life before children. What a wonderful, new thing you are creating in me as a mom. Help me to see the holiness in motherhood and to embrace the role even as the longing for my old life seems overwhelming. Thank you for a new perspective that comes from being a mom and an even deeper relationship with You. Amen.






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Expectations in Motherhood: Day Two

“Expectation - I would enjoy all of motherhood”

By Nicole Lawrence

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READ: Philippians 2:1-18

I love reading to my girls, I love playing with them at the park, I love coloring and doing crafts with them. However, I am not a fan of playing dress-up. Can you guess what my daughter’s favorite game is? Dressing up and reenacting  scenes from princess movies over and over again. This mommy is tired of being Princess Anna of Arendelle. I always pictured motherhood to be something that you just enjoyed doing. Can I let you in on a little secret, even the things I love to do with them I sometimes hate. Ouch, that’s hard to even admit, but when I have a neverending to-do list running through my mind, the 52nd singing of Baby Shark, is very low on my enjoyment scale. 

When I let my attitude towards motherhood be a reflection of a worldly definition of joy, that leads me down the dangerous path of viewing my children as a burden, not a blessing. My sinful selfish nature says my children should bring me happiness. As much as I wish I could wake up singing as cheerfully as Cinderella, the reality is some days I wake up thinking about all the things I need to do with an attitude more closely resembling Mother Gothel.  The gospel tells me my joy should be found in uniting my motherhood with Christ. Our common goal should be humbly loving others.

Yes, God is invested in my joy, but that doesn't exclude me from the unpleasant tasks of motherhood. Discipline, mending broken hearts, and illness are all a part of my purpose. We have to be in the Word and in the Spirit to let our souls be filled with joy in the work we do as mothers. Only then are we able to view the not so fun or pretty parts of motherhood as beautiful because Christ makes it beautiful. 

Walking around my house after a long day I am most likely going to be met with a table of dirty dishes, a playroom exploding with toys, and a multitude of shoes scattered in every corner (where in the world do they all come from?!). If I am not diligent in asking God to help me adopt an attitude of Christ, I will miss out. Clearing the table is a lesson in humility. Folding clothes is a sweet time to learn how to love better. Cooking dinner amidst witching time chaos can teach me the joy of obedience.

When I’m exhausted and the joy is starting to leave my heart I ask God to remind me that this work is holy. Playing dress-up with a heart not filled with an expectation to enjoy it, but a heart being obedient to Christ, I won't miss out on the holy joy promised to me. My work as a mom is God's work. From there He makes my joy grow and grow. 


MEDITATE:
“Whatever you do, do it from the heart, as something done for the Lord and not for people, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24

REFLECT:

  1. What specific things that you have to do as a mother are just simply not fun for you? What ways can God help you change your “ have to”,to “want to”?

  2. Do you view your work as a mom as holy work to be done with joy for the Lord? If not, how can you change your attitude towards it?

  3. What parts of motherhood bring you the most joy? Write out a list of 3 or 4 and reflect on those today when your joy starts to fade. 

PRAY:

Father, thank you for seeing me in the mundane moments of motherhood between wiping bottoms, folding tiny clothes, and filling up snack cups. As I struggle to see the joy in some of these “mommy tasks”, remind me that my joy is found in You. Help me to know that this work, mothering, is a holy job that should be done with my whole heart. 




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